Doug Stockdale's Singular Images

May 21, 2017

Reflective weekend – May 21, 2017

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 7:47 pm

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San Clemente Beach May 2016, copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

This was not a great weekend. Earlier in week I was not feeling great, but Thursday evening and Friday morning I seemed to be over what-ever-it-was. But what-ever-it-was came back to bite me Friday afternoon and only this morning did it seem I was getting on the mend. I suspect it was strep throat. sigh. I have been drinking so much hot tea that I keep track of by the kettle-fulls, not by the cups. Even sipping a cup while I write this.

So in between some long naps, I have been thinking about my photography and my art. Seems that I have wondered into being more of an artist than a photographer with my second artist book Bluewater Shore. Which has a lot to do with the fact that I used someone else’s photographs as a source material versus the fact that I did not take the actual photographs. This appears to be a bigger deal for a lot of other photographers, galleries, photo magazines and now collectors. At the moment I just need to think about this some more, but it does create a shift in my/others perception.

The photograph above was something that I had energy to play with this weekend between my various naps; initially this was a very straight photo but after posting my earlier Experiment/play urban landscape, I decided to apply some of the same SnapSeed magic to this image. It’s a combination of desaturation of the colors and some refined Lens Blur filter. I feel it definitely changes the feeling that this photograph now evokes. Interesting. Btw, I made the original just about this same time last year but added the current copyright date to reflect that I created this new edition recently.

So that’s all the energy I have for now, perhaps time for either another cup of tea or a nap (or both in quick succession!)

Cheers!

 

May 18, 2017

Life Guard Station #14 – San Clemente

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:00 am

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Life Guard Station #14, San Clemente, CA, May 2017, copyright Douglas Stockdale

The same day this month that I captured the gradations beach photo on San Clemente beach that I discussed here, I also photographed the adjacent Life Guard Station #14. In fact I believe that the earlier beach photograph was captured in front of this Guard station.

These are relatively two different photographic image treatments, although both share a similar frontal and formal framing. As the occasion was at dusk, the Life Guard Station was closed down for the evening, thus has a somber, if not lonely, air about it and the beach was without the throngs of beach-goers. But being a man-built structure this does hint at the surrounding beach-oriented culture.

I think the shallow dept of field places more emphasis on this structure rather than the breaking surf in the background. There is still enough environmental context provided while yet still being ambiguous (and hopefully a little mystery) to allow a viewer an opportunity to create their own stories and recall similar memories.

Btw, the subtle differences between the two modified images has me thinking about how I document events and the subsequent treatments applied to the images. Perhaps because I am doing some mentoring for other photographers now and I need to consider my own advice regarding how one creates their own “Brand”. So I suspect I will be writing more about that in the months to come.

Cheers!

May 17, 2017

Experiment-play – LA landscape

Filed under: Middle Ground, Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:00 am

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Los Angeles, I-5 Freeway, March 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

While driving up the I-5 Freeway into Los Angeles earlier this year, I was again finding myself in the bump-to-bumper traffic grind common for this part of Southern California. So similar to my bumper-to-bumper photographs in my recent drives to San Diego, I used the opportunity that when I came to a complete stop to take a photo of the adjacent landscape. So the resulting urban landscape photographs are a combination of serendipity and chance, something that the Surrealist would appreciate.

The resulting photographs from this day-shoot lay dormant, but I kept coming back to this photographic set as there was something there that retained my interest. Over this last weekend I found myself working on one of the photographs and the results are posted above. This photograph is in line with my idea of experiment-play in which I give myself a lot of freedom to visually experiment.

There is a bit of artistic manipulation of the image, but not too far visually off what might be possible with a long lens from a distance further back while using a wide open (shallow depth of field) aperture. So it’s kinda of “realistic” and might pass as a “straight” photograph. Nevertheless I posted this on Instagram and was somewhat impressed by the big response as measured by the amount of likes.

For me, I have moved beyond a straight document of the landscape to something more personal, perhaps a little more ambiguous, a touch of mystery and that has some metaphoric potential. As Sara Terry said about my Memory Pods project, I have made this subject my own. It has my imprint on it. (Okay, what does that mean? Good question as I am not sure yet, but this idea has my wheels turning)

So this has me thinking some more about my other freeway photographs that I have taken over the years in which I might want to reconsider what a straight or documentary style image should look like. Or perhaps better yet, what is my take on LA and how should I interpret this urban landscape?

Cheers!

 

 

May 16, 2017

Gradations – San Clemente Beach

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 8:08 am

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San Clemente Beach, May 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

One of the delightful aspects of picking Ella up at the San Clemente train station is that the station is directly adjacent to the Pacific ocean. We are talking about only a few yards. Thus I normally volunteer to pick her up and then I leave early enough to spend a little time on the beach in the late afternoon to absorb the sights, smells and sounds of the ocean. And on many occasions, take a beach photo, which I realize is an overworked genre of landscapes (seascapes), but nevertheless I find this subject intriguing.

On this occasion with some weather coming in, I realized that I was visually captivated by the various gradations created by the layers of cloud, sea and surf breaking on the shore. I have some versions in which there is a small surf break rolling in, but I found that I preferred this photograph with the flatter water while the wave was in the early stages of forming. I am always fascinated by the ensuing temporal patterns created on the beach as the ocean water recedes.

For this photograph I also desaturated the colors towards a monotone gray-blue palette as this seemed better suited to what I was feeling at the moment, probably a bit of departure from those who might amp up the color saturation for instances such as this.

I also notice that I have been accumulating a collection of these pensive seascapes, so I will see where my muse leads me this ;- )

Cheers!

March 13, 2017

Photo Exchange meeting – print exchange

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 5:00 pm

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Trubuco Canyon 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

This week one of the photographic groups I attend, The Photographers Exchange, is having the annual print exchange meeting (at IFAC on Thursday, March 16 starting at 5:30pm). Except with a slight twist; everyone who brings a print will leave with some else’s print, it is just the print you leave with maybe different than the one your heart truly desires.

This turns into a fun and wacky meeting; first all of the prints are laid out and everyone has a change to pick their top three prints. The print with the highest score allows that photographer who brought the print to choose one of the other prints. The photographer whose print is just selected, then gets to choose one of the remaining prints. and so it goes and typically as the night wears on, the selection of the available prints becomes more and more limited.

The idea strategy (my version): bring a nice matted print that most would like to ensure that this print gets selected early in the evening which in turn would provide me with a larger group of prints to select from. Has worked pretty decently in past years and I have left with some interesting photographic prints from my friends. A slight variation is that if the print that I really desire’s most was no longer available and the photographer also liked my print (but again, did not obtain it), we will do a post-meeting print exchange.

The print I will be bringing is featured above and is an open edition, 6″ x 6″ inkjet with archival white matte (11 x 14″) ready for framing. I think its a winner ;- )

So if you are in the O.C. area on Thursday, I hope you can make it (and bring a print! the only requirement to attend). There will also be some pizza, veggies, & soda.

Cheers!

 

February 20, 2017

Colorado Ski Trip – 2017

Filed under: Photography — Tags: — Doug Stockdale @ 9:00 pm

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Copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

We just completed our annual ski trip to Vail, Colorado. We drove out from Southern California with Zach and met up with Chad in Vail, who came up from Denver. Drive out through California, Nevada, Utah and then into Colorado was breath taking as usual, but no stopping on the way for photographs. What I have noted over the years is that the places I would be interested in stopping to photograph there are no safe or easily accessible passage ways. Drive back was equally beautiful, but different weather conditions; overcast, drizzly and sometime snow-showers, but all the hills were turning green due to the recent rain.

This year with the increased snow, the skiing was just about perfect; clear blue sky (makes it much easier to see the bumps on the hill with the yellow tint googles), temperature in the high 30’s (F), and no wind. We skied out legs off! Regretfully at the end of the week I started hot-dogging and now have a colorful bruised hip to show for it.

Photo above was on the slopes of Vail, while below is Gore Creek that flows through Vail, below that was during the drive we took to ski at Copper Mountain one day, them skiing at Vail and finally a view out our window of our place. Really nice change from Southern California, as we came to visit the snow, not to stay.

Cheers!

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January 27, 2017

Weather & Surf Reports

Filed under: Photography, Projects/Series — Tags: , , — Doug Stockdale @ 11:50 pm

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San Clemente, CA 2017 copyright Douglas Stockdale

So my latest experiment-fun that I have been playing around with is photographing the ocean, surf & sky when I happen to be driving near and subsequently posting on Instagram (@douglasstockdale) as my Weather & Surf Report. As you might imagine, we live close by and my daughter lives even closer, so this becomes a frequently opportunity, especially when I need to drop off someone at the San Clement train station which is just yards away from this ocean beach. I enjoy watching the surf, the smell of the salt air, and the various sounds of the surf and beach, but I was not really drawn to photograph it until recently. Not sure that I want to do a long exposure or in black & white, but perhaps documenting this natural landscape (while the local coastal train zooms by behind me) in color.

I have not been that consistent in my framing, but experimenting with options; leaning towards a lot more atmospheric sky than the ocean & beach.

See what develops, eh? Meantime, having some fun.

Cheers!

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January 21, 2017

Trabuco Canyon walk

Filed under: Photography — Tags: , — Doug Stockdale @ 10:49 pm

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Trabuco Canyon I, copyright 2017 Douglas Stockdale

Between the recent rain storms in Southern California, we decided to take a short walk (yeah, not really a hike) through part of the Trabuco Canyon we live adjacent to. Must admit, I am still drawn to the irregular shapes of what we call the lazy Sycamore trees that are found in this canyon. The jumble of spaces, lines, textures and masses are really visually interesting to me, so I decided to have some experimental-fun with this landscape (again). I also could not help working on a variety of framing and presentations; full frame, square (Instagram posting), rectangle, color, black & white, straight, interpretative, layering of effects. Since I no longer consider myself a nature landscape photographer, I did not feel like it was necessary to have a particular “artistic” visual style, but just to experiment and have some photographic fun.

And I have ;- )

Cheers!

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January 7, 2017

New Adventure for 2017: Video

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Untitled (Middle Ground) copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

Something that has not really captured my attention for some time is working with video. I am of that generation in which movies were made with super-8mm film, a real bear to edit (actually had to physically splice the film together) and trying to add sound was an actual nightmare. To do movies right also meant investing in 16mm equipment, so still photograph made life so much easier. Even when I purchased the Canon 5DMk3, which has professional HD video capabilities, I did not even read the manual on how to use this feature until very recently (yes, like over this last New Years holiday while I was sicker than a dog).

So what prompted this wild & crazy idea? While photographing the Middle Ground project, I came up with the idea of doing a video of the same freeway urban landscape that I was looking at as I did the slow pokey drive in the bumper to bumper traffic.  What might that urban landscape look like as a video, as I had no idea. The idea is that the video would complement an exhibition of the still photographs to provide another visual alternative to this same project. This is in addition to photographing this landscape project with my Hasselblad (still have not purchased the 50mm CF Distagon yet), which I wrote about here.

I knew that my daughter’s brother-in-law Cameron has a sound studio in Santa Ana, but I had not realized the amount of video that he has also worked with until we started talking about it over the holidays. The reason I even brought it up with him is that Kevin, a good friend of mine, has been playing piano for many, many years and while listening to his CD it occurred to me think that this might provide a nice background sound track to my video, which it turns out, Kevin was game for. So I was primarily asking Cameron about his ability to add this sound track to my video. No problem! I then received a interesting mini-lesson in video and what I could do with my 5DMk3, which then prompted me to want to actually read the manual ;- )

2016 was my year to try Instagram and 2017 may be my year to try video. Who knew?

Cheers!

December 29, 2016

Hasselblad 50mm Distagon lens in my future for 2017?

Filed under: Middle Ground, Projects/Series — Tags: , , , , , , — Doug Stockdale @ 6:09 am

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untitled (Middle Ground), copyright 2016 Douglas Stockdale

While working on my current project, Middle Ground, I have thinking that I might want to consider using my Hasselblad and start shooting this with color film in 2017. The biggest issue is that I do not have an equivalent Hasselblad lens for the digital gear I am currently using. I have decided to work with a wide field of view for this project, selecting a 28mm focal length and field of view using my Canon 5DMk3 and the 24-105mm lens (a little scotch tape does a pretty good job of locking down the lens at the focal length that I want). Yes I could also purchase a 28mm prime lens for the Canon, but I am also a bit cheap and this works pretty well.

The closest thing for the Hasselblad is the 50mm f/4 Distagon lens and using a 1.6 factor, this lens can provide about a 31mm equivalent field of view to my 5DMk3/24-105mm. So I taped the 24-105mm lens at what is about 31mm tested it on a drive to San Diego. Part of the drive I also locked (taped) the the lens at 35mm to compare (the 60mm Distagon is about 38mm field of view equivalent). The 31mm was not too bad, but the 35mm started to tighten the pictorial framing of what I want to capture a little too much, thus confirming that an investment in a Hasselblad 50mm Distagon should work. It would be nice to borrow a 50mm Distagon to try out, but my buddies near-by do not have this lens to lend. darn.

Since I will be acquiring a used lens, which of the four different 50mm Distagon models to look for? I think that the CF will do the trick for me, a bit newer and better (lens coating) than the original C model and as I am not focusing close-up the later FLE (Floating lens element) model is probably not necessary (and save me some extra bucks as well).

So the lens hunt is now on!

Cheers

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